Hiking Project Logo

Down East Sunrise Trail (DEST)

Intermediate
 3.3 (3)

A gravel route that passes through the woods, marshlands, and coastal villages of southern Maine.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

91.3

Miles

147.0

KM

Point to Point

282' 86 m

High

10' 3 m

Low

2,058' 627 m

Up

2,025' 617 m

Down

1%

Avg Grade (0°)

7%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs Unknown

Need to Know

This is a true multi-use trail and a major off-road component on the East Coast Greenway, a future long-distance route from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. Users on the route include ATVs, bicyclists, hikers, and equestrians.

Description

The ~90-mile Down East Sunrise takes its name from its location in Down East Maine, dubbed by early mariners for being “downwind” from more western ports such as Boston. Also, it’s one of the first trails to experience sunrise in the United States.

The trail begins on Ayers Junction Road near Pembroke, at the site of a future extension eastward to the Sipayik Trail. The first section heads mostly southwest through forestland for 29 miles toward the coastal village of Machias.

Leaving Machias, you’ll cross many bridges over coastal rivers as you head west. In 3.5 miles, you’ll cross the Machias River on a trestle, one of 28 bridges on the trail. The next 12 miles cross a remote landscape from Whitneyville to Columbia Falls. Food is readily available along this part of the route. After Harrington, the trail runs alongside US 1 on the way into Cherryfield, a location where sandy soil and fog contribute to boatloads of delicious blueberries.

Crossing the Narraguagus River on the way out of Cherryfield, you’ll begin another lonely section for 15 miles to the 150-acre Schoodic Bog at the foot of scenic Schoodic Mountain. Insect-eating plants and turtles can be found here, as well as beavers.

Nearby, North End Road leads to a public beach and camping at the Donnell Pond Public Reserved Land. Watch for deer and other wildlife on the final 12 miles to Ellsworth. The rail yard for the Downeast Scenic Railroad is about 0.3 miles north of the trailhead at the southern end of the route.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 3 votes

#23068

Overall
  3.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
67%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#247

in Maine

#23,068

Overall
9 Views Last Month
474 Since May 15, 2018
Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

DEST
Jun 23, 2020 near Machias…, ME

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 7, 2020
Daniel McCloskey